Liquor vends, shops selling fertilisers allowed to open in Punjab amid COVID restrictions

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Chandigarh, May 4 (PTI) The Punjab government on Tuesday allowed liquor vends and shops selling fertilisers, grocery, and hardware to open till 5 pm during weekdays amid restrictions imposed to combat the spread of coronavirus, officials said.

The government had on Sunday ordered the closure of all shops not selling essential commodities till May 15 as part of additional restrictions imposed in the state. Only shops dealing in medicines and essential items like milk, vegetables, fruits, meat, mobile repair were allowed to remain open.

According to the fresh order issued by the home affairs and justice department on Tuesday, the shops which have been allowed to remain open are retail and wholesale liquor vends, and those selling fertilisers, seeds, insecticides, pesticides, agriculture or horticulture implements.

Grocery shops including PDS (public distribution shops) and those selling industrial materials, hardware items, tools, motors, pipes too can remain open, the order said.

However, the shops are not allowed to open during the weekend lockdown which is from 6 pm on Friday till 5 am on Monday.

The move comes amid protests by shopkeepers at several places in the state against the government's order of closure of shops dealing in non-essential items.

Punjab is among the worst-affected states in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, it had registered 157 deaths and 9,798 new infections. PTI CHS VSD RHL